A man asks Eli and Josie how to win back the trust of the woman he broke up with so that he could do some work on himself.
Dear Sexes: I recently broke up with a woman who I thought I would spend the rest of my life with, and now am regretting my decision. Our time together was the happiest and most fulfilling time of my life. I know she felt the same way. I needed to take time to address some major needs through therapy and time alone, and she initially understood. But now she feels abandoned. It’s been four months since the breakup, and though we both feel very strongly about each other other, she’s scared to try again. Thoughts?
She Said: The best thing you could have done is worked on yourself to make yourself stronger. If you needed to do that alone, it’s good that you knew that and addressed it. You can’t regret healing and growth, and as long as you were honest with her, she should still trust that you have both of your futures in mind when figuring out the best way to be happy and healthy.
It sounds like maybe she has a bit of work to do herself with a therapist, perhaps regarding trust and most likely regarding abandonment. You have to know that if you’re going to be committed to one another for a long time, that you’ll each give the other the space to grow and become stronger.
Nobody’s ever going to spend a lifetime together without some bumps, without some hiccups. It can’t always be a perfect straight arrow to the finish line. If she’s looking for perfection and anything else feels like abandonment, you’re going to encounter problems over and over.
Encourage her to do that bit of work, and be honest, trustworthy and a good friend in the meantime. Hopefully the two of you will get to a place where you’re both more healthy and ready to move forward together.
He Said: Love is often all in the timing. Even the right love, at the wrong time, can fail (or not work out). It’s good that you took time to work on yourself, and it’s great that your girlfriend was understanding of your need to be alone. But now you have to consider what your ex wants. If she’s scared to try again, you’ll just have to be patient. Work on building a new trust as friends. Perhaps in time, her desire to be with you will win out (over her fear of repeating history), and you two can start anew (romantically).
If that sounds too difficult to handle, you can try jumping back in to your relationship together (right now). You can support each other, and fight your fears as a unit. Unfortunately, this option probably isn’t the wisest choice (though it sure is romantic and tempting). They’re cliches, but time heals all wounds, and distance makes the heart grow fonder. Translation: step back and wait. If your love is strong enough, the two of you will find your way back to each other.
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